Well, as I already posted, I would rather have seen the Ducks go to the Emerald Bowl than the Vegas Bowl, for the simple reason that playing Florida State, even though they are a worse team this year than BYU, had a lot more to offer the Ducks long term. However, we now know that we are heading to the Vegas Bowl. And BYU should be a much tougher game than FSU would have ben.
Now, we'll save a full preview for much closer to bowl time, but lets take a chance to get a first look at BYU. Only time I saw them live this year was the first game of the season down at Arizona, where BYU looked absolutely anemic. However, as bad as the Cougars looked against Arizona, after that game they started playing really well. Their only other loss was in double overtime against a really good Boston College team in Massachusetts. They are 10-2, went undefeated in a really good Mountain West Conference, and have largely been blowing people out. They whipped Tulsa 49-24. UNLV--52-7. Wyoming? 55-7. New Mexico--44-17. Their only game within ten points was against Utah in the Holy War, and we know that those big rivalry games are often close.
If the Ducks have any advantage in this game, it is that Gary Crowton recruited most of the BYU players and will have a lot of insight into their team. Talent-wise, the Ducks have teh advantage. However, we know that has been the case in almost every game this season, and that talent alone does not constitute a win. The only common opponent is Arizona, and both teams looked incompetent against an Arizona team that isn't very good. The difference is that BYU has been on a tear since week three, while Oregon has been treading water trying not to drown.
So I guess the initial assessment is don't take BYU lightly. Many Duck fans are saying that this should be an easy win (I, too was guilty of saying that until I looked at the stats). This is a very good team, and they will not be easy. Oregon will have to play very well to get a win in this game. However, if they do put it together and get their first bowl win since the 2002 Fiesta Bowl, than something good will come out of this season after all.
For the opposing view leading up to the game, check out our BYU affiliate Provo Pride, who is already doing a positional analysis of the Ducks.